My “Aha!” Moment

Or

How A Nice Midwestern Girl Learned Things Over and Over (and Over³) Again Before Finally Understanding How To Keep Weight Off

And Now Is Ready To Share Her Secrets With You

There are two kinds of people in this world — those who put people into two categories and those who don’t.

Kidding.

Actually, there are two kinds of people — those who eat to live and those who live to eat.

A few years ago I stumbled upon this article about the ultra-low calorie longevity diet. Essentially, they’ve done studies with extreme calorie restriction in animals (and some people) and their life spans increased dramatically. Some baby boomers jumped on that bandwagon because, as everyone knows, baby boomers never want to die. We want to stay here just as long as we can continue to screw up the planet and torture our children with our constant demands for their perfection.

But I digress.

The article banged around in my brain for a long time. Then recently, I saw another one on the same topic.

And then, while the extreme calorie restriction was still smoldering in my grey matter, I read an article in Health Magazine (which I can’t find the link for anymore) about the Fat Epidemic.

It had some frightening statistics like … in 40 years, if nothing changes, every American adult will be overweight or obese…. Obesity puts women at a much higher risk for breast cancer, endometrial cancer and colorectal cancer.… The fatter you are the more likely you are to have a heart attack earlier in life…. Fat people (especially those with belly fat) are 260 percent more likely to develop dementia…. Fat women are more than twice as likely as normal-weight women to develop urinary incontinence…. Obesity in pregnancy is associated with birth defects…. Obesity is the most significant risk factor for sleep apnea which isn’t just annoying, it’s linked with heart disease.

But mostly, the article raised a question — why aren’t more people concerned with their weight?

The author believes it’s because people don’t consider being overweight dangerous. In fact, they cite an American Diabetes Association survey that found more people are afraid of shark attacks and snake bites than diabetes, even though diabetes contributes to more than 230,000 deaths every year — compared with 5 to 10 deaths per year from sharks and snakes!

That was one of those “Aha!” moments for me, and not just because I’ve never met a snake or shark I liked.

I was able to make the intellectual leap that carrying extra weight — even twenty pounds — can shorten my life. It made sense to me that if I weighed less, I’d put less strain on my organs, bones, and body with the added bonus of avoiding the ravages of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. I’d only ever really thought about my excess weight as a cosmetic issue, not a health issue.

So why not name it the Longevity Low Cal Lifestyle, you ask, quite reasonably, or the Lose Weight So You Don’t Die Diet. Simple. Despite the fact I want to make changes, I’m so very lazy that it’s hard. And when I say “lazy,” understand that it goes beyond what you’re thinking – no matter how lazy you picture me, double it. The resoluteness of my laziness knows no bounds, hence the Lazy Low Cal Lifestyle. And I’m not ashamed.

Now that I understood that excess weight was a health issue and not just one of looking good in a slinky dress, I had to figure out why my efforts in the past failed. Because if I was going to get healthier, I was going to have to figure out how to do it.

I’ve always been a good little list-maker and goal-setter and progress-tracker but I rarely made losing weight a priority in my life. Yes, I wanted to look good in the slinky dress, but I wanted to drink beer and eat brownies more.

Many times I picked the wrong diet (and now I know that all diets are wrong). I looked for instant results, and when they didn’t come I gave up. Why bother, right?

So I had to figure out how to change all that wrongheadedness. Lucky for you, I did. And I’m happy to share.

Back to the two kinds of people in the world, I myself am an Eat to Live-r. Not eating liver, mind you, but I eat to live. Don’t think I don’t like food, though. Except liver. Ickypoo. I love food when someone else buys it, prepares it, and cleans up after it.

But I don’t want 30 days of this, or 4 weeks of that. I don’t want a “diet.” I want a healthy way of eating that will serve me the rest of my life that I don’t have to think about that involves real food that I want to eat. Oh yeah, and it darn well better include alcohol. And dessert.

I get annoyed by the weight-loss experts who tell you to cut out one daily soda or brown bag your lunch to lose 20 pounds in eight seconds. All your dreams will come true!  You’ll land the man/woman/career/vehicle you always wanted! You’ll have sunshine and fairy dust waft upon you making all your waking hours magical! Your kids will get straight As and never roll their eyes at you!

Or like so-called money management experts. “It’s simple to become a zillionaire! Take the money you spend on your daily latte/restaurant meal/pack of smokes and save it. In a year, you’ll have enough money to vacation on Mars!”

Pish.

I don’t drink daily lattes or sodas, nor am I a chain smoker or a regular at my neighborhood eateries. Give me advice that works, fellas!

Let me say it again … deep down, I’m lazy like it’s my job and I’ve realized lots of other women are too. Oh, we look normal to the outside world. We multi-task, get the kids to school most days and tackle the laundry so it doesn’t smother us in our sleep, but when it comes to taking care of ourselves, we’re pretty lazy. But if you’re only half as lazy as I am — and that includes just about everyone in the world — then you have an excellent chance of dropping a few pounds and becoming healthier because of my gift to you ……. the Lazy Low Cal Lifestyle.